We all have a story – we all have a life that beats for the sake of bringing others hope. PaulKrost lives out a story that encourages, challenges and empowers his audience. It was truly an honor to hear his heart for this generation and listen to his story. HipHop is his language – his music presents his soul on paper – each lyric speaking a prayer for this world – a challenge to each of us to rise up and walk out God’s plan for our lives. Sit back and enjoy this read! I know you will be blessed, encouraged and compiled to live a life with NO regrets – to live a life that brings hope and support to those around you. Check it out!
You say in your video Castles, that every “Rapper has a story”. Is there power in a story? How can we as a generation listen and give others the opportunity to share their story?
Colleen, I think that there is tremendous power in a story. The power to build up, to inspire and to encourage others or unfortunately the power to do serious harm to others. I think as a generation we need to learn to listen to our own story. By that I mean really pay attention to the narrative we have the privilege of helping to write with the power of our story. Because the reality is that we’re all and always have been a part of a much bigger story, the story I think God has been writing. And while the power of my story may be able to change a life, but the power of our narrative together, can change the world if we can manage to get on the same page.
Why rap? How did you get into this medium? How has rap provided you a platform to share your story?
I kind of “fell” into rap at a young age. Since I was a kid I loved music. I was always surrounded by it and completely taken by the thought of expressing my creative personality in this way. Rap became my medium when I migrated from by birth island of Jamaica to Miami, Florida where I was first introduced to Hip-Hop music. At the time young artists like Lil Bow Wow and Lil Romeo was popular and I thought if they can do it, what’s stopping me? So I just went for it. I had something to say, and I said it in rap.
Rap has provided me with an amazing platform to share my story. My first “public” display of my talent in hip-hop was in my youth group when I was in middle school. I wrote a verse about loving and living in relationship with God and my church liked it so much that I was invited to perform it in a Sunday morning service, then at a partner church, then another, then special events. After about a year I had built a reputation for myself, and had written multiple songs. From this point on the requests became regular and my audience continued to grow. This was quite a break through for me because I was beginning to learn the power of my story and its ability to impact the lives of the people who would take the time to listen.
What goes through your mind when you create your music? How do you overcome the feelings of doubt and insecurity?
Honestly, a lot goes through my mind now. When I just started I was just concerned about not being “corny”. Now, having grown so much, my thoughts range from my audiences’ life experiences, pushing my creative boundaries, Marketing and being authentic and transparent in my communication. I write in hopes of bringing life to people who feel like they’re dying inside. Click To Tweet
Did you always have this dream? How did you step into your calling? How did you figure out your purpose?
Did I always have this dream, no. Like any other kid my dream changed a few times growing up. Among my more serious dreams was being an architect, founding a non-profit to help inner-city youth, and being a hip-hop artist. At some point in my teen years, I seriously pursued all of these.
I truly believe I discovered my calling as a hip-hop artist out of obedience to God. Click To TweetFor a while I tried to follow what I thought was the best path for my life, because it was what everyone around me said was best. I was miserable and felt like I was wasting my life. Finally I asked God about it, I asked God what I should be doing with my life, regardless of what is culturally popular or acceptable and regardless of what people around me said was best. I was lead down a path that seemed so distant from my current career path, a pastoral leadership path. I went to a Christian College and landed a job as a young adult ministry leader at my home church. During this time, I was on a hiatus from music. No writing, recording, or performing. This was the first time in over six years that I went a year without being involved in music. I believe that God allowed that time so I can really figure out where my heart is.
Who inspires you musically? If you could have lunch with any artist, who would you pick? If you could tour with one band or artist, who would it be and why?
I have many musical inspirations. As a Christian some of these may come as a shock but here are a few: Michael Jackson, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Kirk Franklin, Maroon 5, Andy Mineo and of course Lecrae Moore.
If I could have lunch with one artist it would have to be Michael Jackson. I have a plethora of question that I think I’d only want him to speak on.
If I could tour with any artist it would have to be Lecrae. There’s so much I need to learn about how to navigate this industry and my artistry as a Christian that I believe Lecrae would be uniquely qualified to teach me.
Who is your greatest inspiration?
Believe it or not, Steve Jobs is my greatest inspiration as a creator and innovator. I often tell myself and others, that I hope to one day be the Steve Jobs of music. His ability to look at something simple in a beautiful and refreshing new light, then reinvent it so that it engages and pushes history forward has always inspired me to push my creative boundaries. To not be afraid to not be the first but always work hard at being the best.
What advice would you give someone trying to break into music? What has been the hardest struggle? What has been the greatest “God-moment” of this journey?
I would say first, do it for two reasons only. 1) because God told you to AND 2) because you love it. If you pursue this career path for any other reason you will hate it. Period.
The hardest part of this journey for me is knowing who to trust. The music industry is unfortunately a very tough and shady business. I’ve been ripped off before and it was extremely tough to get passed that. It sent me into a deep depression and horrible creative block for a long time.
The biggest God-moment for me? This is kind of hard to say because I think everyday that I get to wake up and call this my full-time gig is a God-moment.
You talk about “To live is Christ. To die is gain. He saved my life. I’m coming in His name.” How has Christ saved your life? What does it look like to risk it all in your walk with Christ? How do you live for Christ?
I believe that Jesus saved my life by dying for me. This translates for me today in the way of being free to live out my God-given purpose without fear of wasting my life by living how culture ‘thinks’ I should.
While some might think this is radical, the reality is that everyone has radical reasons for living how they do. Whether it’s to prove someone right or wrong, or to break a family “curse” or simply because they don’t want to “conform” , so they work hard to stand out. Everyone has their reasons, this one is mine. I love Jesus and His teachings: Love God, by loving others.
If you could rap about anything for 5 mins, what would you say? Why?
I would tell people to stop allowing mass media to think for them so that they can begin to engage culture the way God intended.
Why “Castles and Clouds”? What’s the meaning behind it?
I chose Castles and Clouds as the title of my project because I think both of those items best captured my journey. Both the Castle and Cloud symbolize a part of the journey. The Castle symbolizes our dreams, callings, and passions that people say are unreachable or out of this world. Much like if I were to say to my wife as we search for our first home, “Honey, lets buy a castle.” How that would come across crazy to her and anyone else today really, I feel like when we share our dreams with people today, the general reaction is that we’re crazy for trying to reach them and crazier for thinking we can. Our dreams, I think, have become modern day castles. Clouds symbolizes the people and things in our lives that try to stop us or block us from our reaching our castles. I call them clouds because the truth is they have no real power to stop us. Much like an actual cloud that sometime can look daunting but you can walk straight through, the things and people in our lives that try to stop us are often powerless to stop us.
What does it mean to be a Christian? What does it look like to look like Christ? Why do you think so many from our generation are struggling with the church?
The image of a Christian today I think has been horribly skewed by mass media. For me, being a Christian means loving God by loving people. It really is as simple as that for me. I strive to look like Christ by way of my lifestyle. Click To TweetWhile I can say a lot about looking like Jesus and how Christians should live. My prayer is that my personality, character and creations speak for themselves as inspired by God and glorifying to Him.
I think the reason our generation is struggling with church is because they’ve been sold so many counterfeit faiths that they no longer trust anyone offering another one. They simply want to discover their own. While that’s noble, the danger in that is the same danger that exists in every other field of study. If you don’t have someone who knows the field well that you can trust to teach you the unwritten aspects of your study its easy to be lead astray or lead yourself astray.
What was it like growing up without a dad? Do you feel like it was hard to trust God as your Father? How would you encourage others who are from single parent homes?
It’s interesting, because while as a teenager I was able to recognize the absence of my father and need for him in my life, as a child my mother did such a great job that I never felt his absence. I felt my childhood, was awkwardly normal for a “fatherless-child”. However, trust became an issue for me once I learned that my father was murdered by his closest friends, and yes, this did in fact spill over into having trust issues not only with people but also with God. As an adult, is when I recognized my handicap in trusting God as a father. It took me years of prayer, study and mentoring to grow to a place of building a relationship with God as a father.
For others who are coming from a single parent household I think it’s important that they learned to see all of life’s potential. I give credit to my mother for my positive and optimistic outlook on life. I grew up with plenty of things that other may have seen as reasons to quit or just not try, but my optimistic outlook would allow me not to make the most of every opportunity. My love for people and belief that the potential for good and greatness exists in every human being has never allowed me to count my self out even when I almost died… twice.
What was it like being diagnosed with sickle cell as an infant? Do you feel like it was purposed by God to open your eyes to those around you who suffering with health problems? How would you encourage someone else going though medical issues?
Being diagnosed with sickle cell as an infant I think was tougher on my mother than it was for me. I was sick so often that I thought it was normal, rarely if ever as a child did I ever stop and think I was weird or odd for always being so sick.
To me I think Sickle Cell was God’s way of keeping me focused. Because I was always very creative as a child and had a high aptitude for anything I took seriously, I think without sickles cell my life would have went in a completely different direction and arrogance and pride would have kept me away from a relationship with God.
What are your next plans? Where do you see your ministry and music in the next 5 years?
As far as my next steps, I am currently in the middle of working on what will be my sophomore album with my production team and I am beyond excited about it so far.
In five years, I hope to be doing a few things actually. I’m still very interested in opening a non-profit to work with inner-city youth and I hope that the income generated from my music will afford me the opportunity to do that.
Love that you add value to hip-hip. Has it been difficult to go against the norm and speak about respecting women, encouraging education, and embracing non-violence? Has it inspired other artist to utilize their platform to perpetuate love and respect? Has it been tempting to change your platform to gain more followers? How do you stay true to who you are in Christ?
Going against the grain hasn’t been as uphill as I anticipated because I think people are tired of hearing about how they can ruin their lives and the lives of other people. It seems to me that people are hungry for authentic substance in their music. They are more interested in hearing about how to change the world for the better one day at a time, than they are about women, drugs and violence.
The temptation to “sell-out” for sake of popularity always lingers amidst the next success for every artist. I know that for me, the way I avoid that temptation is by truly caring about my audience, wanting to genuinely help them through my music helps me to see any opportunity to “sell-out” as completely absurd.
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